Elizabeth is lonely but undaunted, determined to create a special day.
She wakes just early enough to hear the sound of the sea. Before dawn,
Rabat is an ocean-side village; when the sun rises, it becomes a large
modern city again.
As Elizabeth gazes out her window, she views this transformation, and she hears the dramatic shift — from the sound of waves breaking against the cliffs to the cacophonous songs of a city's traffic congestion and construction workers building a high-speed train. Ready to witness a great city in action, Elizabeth quickly showers, dresses, and descends to the lobby of her hotel.
She visits the unfinished mosque of a long-defeated dynasty — a mosque that exists mostly in the imagination of its visitors because its two-hundred massive columns have never had a roof to hold aloft. Still, the tower of the mosque, at only half its intended height, soars over the city of Rabat, overlooking the sea. The great mosque moves Elizabeth to tears, and she wonders how it might feel to enter a mosque for prayer. She imagines herself dressed in a veil and covered from head to toe in soft and flowing fabrics.
Serenity descends upon her, and for a moment she forgets that she is Elizabeth in Rabat. For a moment, she has no identity, no relations, no past, and no future. She is simply a being — at peace with the wind and the sea. In this way she walks along the beachfront below Rabat's famous cliffs and ramparts, where small boats chase one another on the choppy surface of the sea.
Salma Ruth Bratt
is a professor of English and English pedagogy. She loves her sweet and thoughtful children, traveling abroad, the theater of complex and interesting playwrights, and the music of good listeners. Her writing is often conceived and nurtured in conversations with Moulay Youness Elbousty, and she is exceedingly thankful to him.